H I C A G O
R I B U T E
A native of Detroit,
he moved to
Chicago in the early 1890s. Buying a
succession of run-down buildings, he
repaired them as rentals. White-owned
banks refused to lend to African-Americans, inspiring Binga to establish
bank in 1908 at the southeast corner of State and 36th Streets. Thousands
African-Americans opened accounts, and the Binga Bank prospered. It attained
a state charter in 1921, and eventually occupied imposing buildings at the
northwest corner of State and 35th Streets.
With the success of
his businesses, Binga purchased a home at 5922 South
Park Avenue (now King Drive), in what was then an exclusively white neighborhood.
Though the house was bombed five times by disgruntled neighbors, Binga and
remained steadfast. In 1929, he built the grand Binga Arcade, with offices,
shops and a dance floor, at 35th and State Streets.
The Great Depression
of the 1930s led to the failure of Bingas businesses.
Accused and convicted of financial irregularities, Binga began serving a
jail sentence in 1935. Three years later, the petitions of appreciative
Bronzeville residents and famed attorney Clarence Darrow secured his release.
Bingas last years were spent as a handyman at St. Anselms Church.